"Those of us wielding cell phones, laptops, and credit cards fatten our digital
dossiers every day, simply by living. Take me. As I write on this spring
morning, Verizon, my cell phone company, can pin me down within several yards of
this café in New Jersey. Visa can testify that I'm well caffeinated, probably to
overcome the effects of the Portuguese wine I bought last night at 8:19. This
was just in time for watching a college basketball game, which, as TiVo might
know, I turned off after the first half. Security cameras capture time-stamped
images of me near every bank and convenience store. And don't get me started on
my Web wanderings. Those are already a matter of record for dozens of Internet
publishers and advertisers around the world."
Wow! I've often thought that in our headlong rush to embrace ever-expanding new technologies, we are doing something like this. Not being one of the "numerati," in fact, being barely numerate, my thinking didn't get much further than this.
But where it did get me was to a(n admittedly) fuzzy mental comparison between "us," with our heedless embrace of technology, and the fictional Will and Lyra, hero and heroine of the amazing His Dark Materials trilogy; Will and Lyra and their willing embrace of the miraculous and Subtle Knife, which, (spoiler alert), they learn, just before it's too late, "has intentions of its own." Which our hero and heroine did not intend.
With or without having read this sure-to-be-intriguing book by Mr. Baker, has anyone out there ever had similar thoughts about the way everything in our modern world, from cell phones to iPods to smart toilet seats, might have "intentions we do not intend?"